Media or mass media encompasses a wide range of media technologies such as television, radio, film, newspapers, magazines and the internet to name a few. These media are a means of reaching a large audience in order to relay information, news or entertainment. We live in the information age where every individual has easy and quick access to a variety of information sources. The touch of a button, click of a mouse or simply a glimpse at the morning daily is enough to make available a host of opportunities to educate ourselves about some new aspect of the world. The advantages of media are omnipresent and cannot be overlooked.
Every metropolis, city, town and village on the world is exposed to some form of mass media or the other – from widescreen televisions to high speed computers to the lone photographer in the middle of a tribal village. Our lives are influenced by the things we experience, brought to us by the various media channels present in the world today. Here we examine a few of the numerous advantages of media that have changed life as we know it. We focus mainly on the economic advantages of media.
Advantage of Broadcast Media
Broadcast media or electronic media is probably the most prevalent form of media observable these days. Television and radio since their invention in the late 1920s and 1890s respectively, have led to a revolutionary change in the way people perceive entertainment, information and news. The advent of films in theatres as well as televisions has led to the formation of an entire industry – the film industry. Hollywood, Bollywood and the film industries of Hong Kong and Nigeria are the biggest in the world. The American film industry supports a national community of 2.2 million workers and contributes more than $175 billion to the U.S. economy. The Indian film industry, Bollywood, is the largest producer of films in the world and its revenues are estimated to reach Rs. 12,800 cr ($2.56 billion approx) by 2015 according to the Assocham (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India). Thus the media has brought about a whole new sector in the economy.
Further, with the advent of satellite channels and cable TV, breaking news stories from any part of the world and coverage of world events is broadcast within seconds, so an individual with access to satellite TV has instant availability of information. These advantages of media have an enormous impact on the economy of a country. Stock market tradings happen within seconds, hence it is imperative to have access to news stories from around the world instantly. For instance, the EU ban on oil imports from Iran in response to the US financial sanctions (due to Iran’s non-acceptance of the nuclear non proliferation treaty) is likely to raise oil prices around the world due to the fact that now EU has a smaller base of suppliers from which they will import oil. This change in crude oil prices is likely to affect a large number of traders and investors who are involved in oil commodities, stocks or futures trading and instant news brought to them by the various channels of mass media is a boon for them. There are other professions which depend on the successful propagation capacities of the mass media. Singers, actors, journalists, musicians, television personalities and a host of other people in the media industry have their success stories dependent on the outreach and accessibility of global mass media. Radio and television provide a means for passing along these forms of entertainment as well as news items on the same.
The broadcast media channels have a great degree of penetration among consumers. It is this factor which attracts advertisers to mass media channels. The advertising industry revenues are completely dependent on the abilities of the distribution of their message among various geographic areas through mass media channels. The personal touch that is possible through radio and television advertisements is a strong image building tool and can also be used to reach target audiences. Thus these media channels have now become an indispensable part of a number of industries which swear by the advantages of the media provided these days.
Advantage of Print Media
Print media uses a physical object such as newspapers, magazines, newsletters etc as a means of transmitting information, entertainment and news items amongst the public. It is the most traditional mode of media. Newspaper has been around since 1605 and print media remain the cheapest form of mass media communication. Magazines are periodical publications which were in vogue till recently when the radio, television and internet gained mass popularity replacing much of the print media’s common forms through e-books, online journals and periodicals as well as online news. However, these traditional forms of mass media continue to maintain a large audience the world over.
The low cost and easy availability of print media compose some of the major advantages of media in this genre. Books have been the oldest means of passing information through the ages. They can be archived and kept for future use. Also, newspapers, magazines, brochures etc do not have any of the harmful side effects that broadcast media or internet propagate. They do not use any electronic gadgets which cuts down on the myriad of problems these gadgets present.
Newspapers and magazines build loyal fan followings within a short time span. Leading dailies over the world have readership in millions with print journalists being the main contributors in garnering such large reader bases. Apart from journalists and publishers whose careers are completely dependent on the print media and its popularity among the masses, advertisers also try to cash in on this medium. High reader involvement and low prices make the print media an attractive destination for advertisers.
Advantage of New-Age Media : Internet and Social Media
Social media brought about by the internet has experienced an exponential rise in popularity in the past few years. Although it is still not widely recognized as a mass media form in many developing countries, internet usage has increased by 528% in the past ten years with a 32.7% increase in penetration among the world population.
Thus what started out as a system of inter connected computer networks in the US in the 1980s has now become a global phenomenon with billions of users. Although the internet can be used as a mode of personal communication as well, it is an important mass media tool today as it carries an extensive range of information resources and services. Social networking sites, blogs and personal/private/public websites provide a means to communicate with or relay information to the rest of the world in an easy and efficient manner. Social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook are fast emerging as the primary source of reaching out to the public. This advantage of media is used by companies, advertisers and individuals to propagate useful information and news.
Social media is a low cost option for small businesses and does not require highly skilled personnel to operate. Among the other advantages of media in this segment is the flexibility that social media provides. Updating, changing and deleting old information is easy and convenient in this medium. Due to its global outreach and unlimited access, it is a popular choice these days as a mass media instrument.
In the end, we can say ..
To sum up the advantages of media in today’s world, media channels allow the free flow of information and services around the world giving a broader perspective of the world and bringing people together. It is hard to imagine the world today without the high degree of connectivity and flow of knowledge available through various media channels. This is simply an overview of the numerous advantages of media existing today. The importance of media has been summed up quite aptly in Jim Morrison’s words – “Whoever controls the media controls the mind”.